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FAQ

I first compiled the following list of Emma-related questions and answers back in 1997, with the assistance of quite a few friends and acquaintances at the Republic of Pemberley. It was last updated on December 30, 2011.

There are two sections: Learn about the various Emma adaptations, or check out our novel FAQ.

About the Various Emma Adaptations and This Site

  1. How many versions of Emma were made, and which is which? Are there any others in the works?

    There are three adaptations (each unofficially numbered by fans to minimize confusion) and one loosely-based modern parody. A fourth adaptation is in production as of spring, 2009, and is set to air in the UK in Fall, 2009.

    • Emma 1 was first televised in 1972 by the BBC, and is currently available on video and as an Amazon.com download. It's four hours long, in two parts (originally aired in six), and stars Doran Godwin as Emma and John Carson as Mr. Knightley.

    • Emma 2 was released in American theatres in the summer of 1996 by Miramax, and is currently available on video. It's a little over two hours long and stars Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma and Jeremy Northam as Mr. Knightley. Winner of one Academy Award - Rachel Portman, Best Original Score for a Musical or Comedy. Also nominated for Best Costume Design.

    • Emma 3 was first televised by ITV-Meridian Television in Britain in November of 1996, and by A&E Television in the U.S. in February of 1997. It's currently available on video. It's about two hours long, and stars Kate Beckinsale as Emma and Mark Strong and Mr. Knightley. This is the one produced and written by the same folks who did the 1995 BBC/A&E Pride & Prejudice television miniseries (P&P2). Winner of two '97 Emmy awards - Production Design Team, Production Design and Jenny Beavan, Costumes.

    • Another 1990s version of Emma was shelved indefinitely by the BBC. They were frightened off by the 1990s Miramax and A&E/Meridian outings. Apparently, the were offered the E3 Davies script and passed on it as they had Sandy Welch - then in-house - already working on a version of Emma.

    • Emma 4 - The BBC greenlighted the four-part Emma adaptation written by Sandy Welch in Fall, 2008. It's the same script mentioned immediately above. This "new" adaptation began filming in April, 2009 and aired in October, 2009 on BBC 1. It aired in the United States from January-February, 2010 as part of the Masterpiece Classic series. The adaptation stars Romola Garai as Emma, Jonny Lee Miller as Mr. Knightley, and Michael Gambon as Mr. Woodhouse. More information here.

    • Clueless was released in American theatres in the summer of 1995 by Paramount Pictures, and is currently available on video. It's about two hours long, and stars Alicia Silverstone as Cher Horowitz, the character based on Emma. The film, a modern conceptualization of Emma, satirizes SoCal high school life. Widely believed to be the first of the 1990s rash of Austen adaptations, it isn't. Ruby in Paradise, starring Ashley Judd, was released three years earlier, in 1992. It's based on Northanger Abbey. Others believe that 1990's Metropolitan also counts, as its filmmakers claimed inspiration from Mansfield Park.

    • As of late April, 2009, it's rumored that a sequel to Clueless is in the works, reuniting Alicia Silverstone and Amy Heckerling. Silverstone's representatives deny the rumors, while Heckerling's people say, "No comment."

    • There's a "Bollywood" Emma, too: "Anil Kapoor has announced that he will be producing a version of Jane Austen's 'Emma' for [daughter Sonam] to star in..." Sonam Kapoor herself has publicly mentioned her desire to star in an Emma adaptation on at least one occasion. The Kapoors confirmed the film - titled "Ayesha" after its Emmalike heroine - in February, 2009, and began filming in fall of 2009. The film was released in August of 2010. More details here.

    • Screen Gems has an "urban," "updated" musical version of the story slated for 2010, though it's unlikely it'll be more than a loose interpretation of the basic plot elements.

    • There is a 1932 film named "Emma" which was for a time listed erroneously on the Internet Movie Database Emma pages. This film has nothing to do with Austen's novel.

    • Similarly, there is an anime series called "Emma" which has nothing to do with Austen's heroine.

    • Other versions of the story - live television, radio, plays, and audiotape drama - are described here.

  2. Which adaptation is best? Which one should I see first?

    I really can't tell you that. In order for you to make an informed decision as to which is the 'best' for you to see/buy/recommend/whatever, I suggest that you view at LEAST E2 and E3, although neither are as complete as E1. None of the adaptations are perfectly complete, however. If you're a stickler for story and dialog accuracy, and you don't mind 1970's studio florescence, go for E1. If you want a beautiful, sweeping film, see E2. If you're more of a traditional, BBC/A&E look-and-feel junkie, you may prefer E3 or E4 (lol...though E3 was NOT produced by the BBC).

    E4 is a beautiful production and very complete as far as plot elements go, but responses have been mixed. While it contains grains of Austen's dialog and narration, Sandy Welch rescripted every scene to a significant degree. Emma in particular is given some overly modern lines, which offended some viewers. I wasn't too bothered by it, but I will say that these reinterpretations - though not horrendous - prevent this adaptation from standing apart from the others as a major improvement. That said, if the dialog works for you, it may become your favorite of the bunch, as it offers some of the best attributes of the other adaptations in one package. It has, for example, the length and completeness of E1, the comedy and beauty of E2, and the authentic period feel of E3.

  3. Where can I get copies of these films, the novel, and related merchandise? Is the Emma 3 "Making of" book still available? How about the Jeremy Northam audiobook?

    Amazon.com has copies of each video (and DVD), paper and audio versions of the novel, and editions of several literary allusions found within the novel. You can use the links below, or browse the Austen section of my Astore, which is more comprehensive. If you buy via my Astore, Amazon widgets, or links, it'll help the site.

    If Amazon doesn't have what you need, Patricia Latkin at Jane Austen Books probably will. Also, try eBay and various other online collectible book outfits.

    Bettina, who's in Germany, recommends that Europeans try Video Plus Direct if Amazon doesn't have what they need. Call them at 0044-1733-23 28 00 for a catalog.

  4. Is there a "making of" book for Emma2 ? Where can I find the shooting script?

    No, there is no "making of" book for this adaptation. There was a Miramax version of the novel available in 1996-97, but they don't publish it anymore. It had a nice selection of black-and-white stills from the film. If you'd like to study a copy of the script, there is a decent version here.

  5. Are there any dolls or other merchandise available in relation to the novel or its adaptations? Where can I get posters or hard copies of movie stills?

    Occasionally, an Emma2 press kit or poster will turn up on eBay. You may also be able to get this kind of thing through a movie memorabilia shop.

    Generic Emma dolls and paper dolls are available. The Past Times catalog has carried an Emma Woodhouse figurine in the past. A paper Emma is available from paperdolls.com. It's gorgeous!

  6. The woman who plays Mrs. Goddard in Emma1 looks very familiar...from where might I know her?

    She's Mollie Sugden, Mrs. Slocombe on the hilarious BBC comedy Are You Being Served, which ran on British television from 1973-1984. Chances are, you've seen the show recently on PBS. FYI, Sugden wore wigs on AYBS, and she was born under the sign of Cancer.

  7. Was the Emma2 Miss Bates really related to the woman who played her mother? Didn't I see the same actress in the recent Persuasion adaptation?

    Yes, and yes! Sophie Thompson, who played Miss Bates, is the daughter of Phyllida Law, who played Mrs. Bates. They are, respectively, actress Emma Thompson's sister and mother. And indeed, you did see Sophie as Anne's hypochondriac sister, Mary Musgrove, in the 1995 Persuasion adaptation.

  8. Was the lady who played Mrs. Elton in Emma3 the same one who played Mrs. Hurst in P&P2? What was up with that accent in Emma ?

    Yes! Her name is Lucy Robinson. As for the odd accent - Caroline tells us that she was attempting to do a Bristol accent, which has more pronounced "r"'s.

  9. And Harriet - wasn't she also Jane Eyre?

    Right...Samantha Morton played both Harriet Smith in Emma3 AND Jane Eyre in the recent A&E television adaptation . In April of '98, she played Sophia Western in the A&E version of Tom Jones.

  10. Is Samantha Bond, who played Mrs. Weston in Emma3, a relative of James?

    Duh. No, although she's been in several of his films. She played Miss Moneypenny in Goldeneye (which also starred Alan Cumming, Emma2's Mr. Elton, as that little creep Boris) and Tomorrow Never Dies. You may also recognize her as Maria Bertram from the 1983 BBC version of Mansfield Park, in which Emma3's Mr. Woodhouse, Bernard Hepton, played Sir Thomas Bertram.

  11. Where can I find photos, patterns, and other information on the costumes for these films?

    I've written a piece on the female costuming in all three major adaptations, which is located here. If you'd like to make a gown, see the regency Wardrobe Pattern offered by La Mode Bagatelle (I made two great gowns from this set of patterns - it includes patterns for several styles of frock, two spencers, a chemisette, a reticule, a beret, and a muff). Jennie at Sensibility.com offers another set of wonderful patterns. Don't miss Jessamyn's Costumer's Companion for handy tips, tons of images, and a review of pattern sources. Also see Cathy Decker's Regency Pages for images and The Greater Bay Area Costumers' Guild for pattern reviews, links, &c. If you're looking for a good seamstress to make you a gown, I recommend Tracie Arnold of Past & Present Creations.

  12. Kate Beckinsale's maroon pelisse - and some of those wraparound dresses - in Emma3 look kind of familiar...have I seen them in another adaptation?

    Jenny Beavan designed the costumes for this film (she won an Emmy for this film). She also did the costumes for the 1995 version of Sense and Sensibility (and 1986's A Room With A View, starring Helena Bonham-Carter). While she couldn't reuse any of the S&S costumes because the period was too early for Emma, she did reuse some costuming details. The cotton wraparound gowns that Jane and Miss Bates wear in the Strawberry scenes, for example, and Emma's collared pelisse ARE reminiscent of those worn by the Dashwood sisters in the other film.

    If you look closely, however, you will see Lydia Bennet's gold-and-saffron-hemmed print frock from P&P2 on one of the extras. This dress was designed by Dinah Collin. I've also come to suspect certain other gowns, most of them worn by Mrs Weston...her brown, gold-embroidered V-neck dinner gown looks quite a bit like one of Mrs. Hurst's, and her vandyked-sleeve ballgown and trained Harvest Supper frock looks like two of Jane Bennet's ensembles (Christmas gown and "letter from Mr. Gardiner" dress).

    A summary of previously-viewed costumes appearing in E4 is available here.

  13. What's the name of the song that Emma and Frank sing at the Coles' party in Emma2?

    It's "Silent Worship," from Handel's Ptolemy. The words and a quicktime movie are available here.

  14. Isn't the music that Emma and Knightley dance to at the ball in Emma2 the same as that to which Lizzy and Darcy dance at the Netherfield Ball in P&P2?

    Yes...the music - and dance that goes along with it - is called "Mr. Beveridge's Maggot." A "maggot" in this context is not a fly larva, but rather a "favorite," meaning that the dance was either composed or favored by a dancing master named Mr. Beveridge. Though probably older, the dance first appeared in the 9th edition of Playford's Dancing Master, a sort of country dance caller's guide, in 1695. You may have noticed that the elements of the dance differed between the two adaptations; for the record, both versions were off, but the P&P2 version was closest.

    A midi file of the music, and more, is available here.

  15. Where can I find information about the music and dances in Emma3?

    Right here!


  16. Where can I get the soundtracks for Emma2 and Emma3?

    See above.

    The academy award-winning Emma2 soundtrack, by Rachel Portman, is available through Amazon.com, or at your local record store. Wav's, aiff's, and MP2's of all the tracks from the cd are located here. Occasionally, the commercial sites which store these files will shuffle them around a bit. If you notice that a sound file link isn't working, please let me know...I'll try to find the right link asap!

    Emma3, unfortunately, has no soundtrack recordings available. You may, however, be able to find music and recordings of some of the traditional tunes featured in the show through The Country Dance and Song Society's online catalog. For tune and dance titles, see this page.

  17. Did Gwyneth Paltrow actually sing in Emma2?

    Yes! That's her real voice. It's also been confirmed that she uses her own equestrian skills during the driving scene.

  18. Okay, let's talk hair! Why did Ewan McGregor's (Frank in E2) and Mark Strong's (Mr. Knightley in E3) hair look so...weird?

    Well, it's been confirmed that Ewan - fresh from his role in Trainspotting - was still growing out a very short buzz cut during the filming of E2. Since he didn't have time to grow it to a normal, era-appropriate length, they wigged him. Mark Strong was apparently in a similar predicament with E3...his hair was too short to look right, but long enough for extensions. I was told that though the effect makes him look bald on top, he's really not. :o) Kate Beckinsale, oddly enough, was also given hair extensions for her role in E3.

  19. Where can I find more information on these films, their casts, their crews, and their locations?

    The Emma Adaptations Pages are a good place to start. Luckily, that's where you are right now! You may also choose to explore the Internet Movie Database.

  20. What's at The Emma Adaptations Pages, exactly? Where did the content come from? Can I use any of it at home or on my own pages?

    There are lots of things. Images, Quicktime movies, articles, interviews, filming locations for the major adaptations. Information on minor adaptations on tv, radio, &c. There's also quite a bit about the novel itself.

    The content comes from various sources. Some of it is out of copyright, such as the Brock illustrations and quoted material from the novel itself. Other content (original reviews, &c.) is original to the maintainer or her friends and is copyrighted, but may be used with permission. Please note that we are not affiliated with Miramax Films, A&E, Meridian Broadcasting, or the BBC. Most of the movie images are from the studios themselves, used in accordance with Fair Use provisions of the United States Code. Other images are scanned from various copyrighted sources (as are the Quicktimes), used either with permission or for educational purposes only. As the site is not for profit, no content is used for material gain. If you would like to use any of the content privately, go ahead. If you're planning on using it on the web, in print, or for some other public purpose, please check with me to sort out what comes from where and how to best go about using it/getting permission to use it.

  21. How long has the site been around? Why Emma?

    The site itself has been in existence in various forms since February, 1997, though it didn't officially start welcoming the public until March 1, 1997. The site's original home was my account at UC Berkeley's Open Computing Facility, from which it moved to Pemberley.com on October 17, 1997. In May, 2003, the site moved here to my personal domain. Why Emma? I identified with the heroine, and very much enjoyed the novel and its various adaptations.

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About the Novel

  1. Is the novel available online? Is there any information on the book on the 'net?

    Yeah - try the our Novel section and the Jane Austen Information Page. For a unique perspective on Mr. Woodhouse, visit Deb's Woodhouse Defense League! See below...

  2. Are there any good sequels or allusions to Emma?

    Find out here!

  3. Who's richer, Mr. Woodhouse or Mr. Knightley? Did Mr. Knightley marry Emma to get his hands on Hartfield?

    I figure that Mr. Knightley's land assets make him worth more than Mr. Woodhouse, even though Mr. Woodhouse has much more liquid wealth (aka money). We know that Mr. Knightley has little spare money and keeps no horses (for his carriage), but that he is the main landowner in the parish. Mr. Woodhouse, on the other hand, has plenty of money but almost no land, as Hartfield is without "extensive grounds," being in fact carved out of Donwell's extensive holdings. On that subject, did Mr. Knightley seek to marry Emma in order to gather up the last bit of land in the vicinity not belonging to him? We think not. That sort of thinking just doesn't fit his personality.

  4. Speaking of Mr Woodhouse, are there any websites dedicated directly to him?

    Actually, Yes. Try Deborah Jane's Mr. Woodhouse Preservation Society.

  5. What are the "glasses" which Emma arranges in the carriage before the ride over to the Weston's Christmas party?

    We're not sure, but we think they're the carriage windows.

  6. Who will inherit Hartfield when Mr. Woodhouse bumps off?

    If Mr. Woodhouse does not draw up a will stating otherwise, then Isabella and Emma will inherit equal shares in the estate. This is because there are no male heirs in the close familial vicinity.

  7. What does the "C" in F.C. Weston Churchill stand for?

    Probably "Churchill," which is Frank's mother's maiden name. As you know, it becomes his as well when his uncle and aunt adopt him.

  8. When Austen says that Mrs. Bates is a very old lady, past almost everything "but tea and quadrille," what does she mean by "quadrille"? Is it a dance? Or a card game?

    It's a card game.

  9. Was the character of Emma based on a real person?

    Many people believe that Emma was modeled after Jane Austen's niece, Anna Lefroy.

  10. What is gruel? What is a mizzle? What are rout-cakes?

    DeeMac looked it all up in her 1794 dictionary and her New Oxford Dictionary of English, and found out. Most of us know about gruel. Mizzle is a drizzly rain. and rout-cakes are party cookies made with wine, rosewater, orange juice, and currants...yum!

  11. What's the N takes M business Emma brings up when Mr. Knightley asks her to call him 'George'?

    It has to do with the way the Anglican marriage ceremony is described in the Book of Common Prayer. Henry talks about it here.

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